For the water analysis industry, Luna Labs has a variety of programs aimed at rapidly characterizing treated wastewater or drinking water. This includes our developmental EcoREADi™ kit that provides quantitative detection of E. coli in less than 5 hours, a full 13 hours faster than the industry standard, with lower sensitivities (less than 3 bacteria per 100 mL of sample). The EcoREADi kit is provided in an easy to use, color-coded format and can function with suggested capital equipment, or with existing microbiology lab setups and a luminometer. The kit involves no more than 15 minutes hands-on time, and is currently being validated for EPA standard method acceptance and approval. Related, Luna is also developing an integrated and automated water analysis system that characterizes a variety of relevant water characteristics such as E. coli concentration, biological oxygen demand, and total organic carbon. The automated system relies on our electrical engineering expertise and is a partnership with Symbient Product Development and the US Army.
In the medical diagnostics space, Luna Labs has multiple unique and high sensitivity assays including the SPRi and Attomolar assays. The SPRi assay is designed for early and reliable detection of biomarkers that indicate organ injury. Biomarkers are measurable indicators of the presence and extent of a disease process in the body, reflecting an interaction between a biological system in the body and a potential hazard. Testing for the presence of certain biomarkers can provide important information for identifying disease and the extent to which it has progressed. Luna is developing a nanotechnology empowered surface plasmon resonance imaging platform (NANOenhanced SPRi) for performing the ideal assay to simultaneously detect a panel of biomarkers for the diagnosis of organ injury. It provides high diagnostic accuracy, is non-invasive (tests body fluids), uses a small sample size (less than 100 μL), has a fast turnaround time (within 30 minutes) and can test for multiple biomarkers using one sample. The attomolar assays able to detect analytes in attomolar concentrations (10-18 mole/liter) are developed using plasmonic metal nanoparticle enhanced fluorescence technique.
Dissolvable Capture Materials
For the diagnostics space, Luna is developing a unique dissolvable specimen capture technology to allow enhanced uptake and recovery of biological samples. This technology will find broad acceptance in the molecular diagnostics, forensic science, and environmental monitoring communities. The capture material can be made into liquid or air filters, or prepared in a swab format for clinical or forensic use. By using a fiber that is insoluble in water, ethanol, or other common liquids found around households, but is soluble in DNA extraction buffers, Luna has created a revolutionary new drop-in solution for scientists to gather better evidence and perform higher quality analyses on smaller biological samples.
Luna’s CouNT™ assay is designed for quantitative detection and measurement of carbon nanotubes. The enormous potential of carbon nanotubes (CNT) and their successful incorporation in commercial products including bulk composite materials and thin films have dramatically increased their production worldwide to more than 10,000 metric tons per year. As with many new materials, toxicology concerns are being raised with CNTs regarding their interactions with humans and any safety hazards and environmental health risks CNTs may pose. Understanding the effects of CNTs is complicated by the large diversity of structures, sizes, and surface functionality of carbon nanotubes. For the same reason, sensitive and accurate detection and quantification of multiple carbon nanotubes species in solution, water, air and other medium has been impossible. To address this analytical need and enable the community to better understand the effects of carbon nanotubes in and on the environment, Luna developed an easy to use, quantitative CouNTTM assay to detect and measure carbon nanotubes. The CouNT assay can detect a variety of CNTs (single walled and multi-walled with or without surface functionalization), and can distinguish them from carbon black, amorphous carbon, graphite, or carbon fibers. The limit of detection and sensitivity for the assay is in the range of 3-5 parts per billion, and can yet detect into the mg/mL regime in a turn-around time of only 30 minutes.